Marc Coma is Still the Leader. Cyril Despres is Approaching. Despres (Gauloises KTM) wins the stage, and Coma (Repsol KTM) is still leading, but first of all the today's stage has not been as difficult as announced. A long stage of more than...
Marc Coma is Still the Leader. Cyril Despres is Approaching.
Despres (Gauloises KTM) wins the stage, and Coma (Repsol KTM) is still leading, but first of all the today's stage has not been as difficult as announced. A long stage of more than 800 kilometres, of course, almost all run in the Adraa valley, a dry riverbed that crosses the southern Moroccan region. Only some technical passages, and many stones on the tack, but this is household in this Country. Isidre Esteve navigated almost all the morning, but the main advantage of the work of the Spaniard was taken by his Gauloises KTM team-mate Cyril Despres. At the finish Despres was first. Due to the different starting positions, Marc Coma suffered the today's special test but is still leading the race, but his previous advantage on Cyril Despres has been reduced to one minute and a half. So from now the race will probably be characterized by this kind of alternating "train game" between his leaders. Nothing bad, because this is one of the main rules of the modern interpretation of the Rally, since navigation instruments has were introduced. Isidre Esteve is now third and apparently only he Spaniard and the Chilean Carlo De Gavardo could be able to compete for the final success with the actual leaders. The race is of course still very long, but we have to consider also that for the first time in the last few years it appears so balanced. We have to consider also that the first third of the race as been accomplished, and it has bee very demanding. From the first day in Portugalinto the southern stage of morocco it has been a very interesting battle.
Marc Coma was very calm at the finish. "When I knew the characteristics of the special test", said the Repsol KTM champion, "I once envisaged that nothing could change today. We all rode almost all the time together, only some time trying to force a little. My main goal was to reach the finish maintaining the leadership. This morning we started very early, at four o' clock PM, and tomorrow we will leave Tan Tan at 1:00 Am. So it was also important to preserve our energies. From tomorrow I'm sure that the race will show a completely different face. The tomorrow's stage is a "classic" of the Dakar, and we was used to run this special test at maximum speed, instead due to the new rules we will have to take care about speed".
Jordi Arcarons, the team manager of Repsol KTM, enter the interview suggesting an important article of reflection: "You have to consider also two more things. In the recent past this stage was run without any navigation problem. This Year you don't have any way point to be reached directly, so you have to take care when finding the right track. Also the temperature is increasing, and this is one of the main phantoms to be watched".
If the stage has been a little bit flat by the point of view of the fight, something unexpected occurred to the rally. Due to persistent fog in the region of Tan Tan, the small town reached today by the rally, the aerial fleet of the organization was still blocked in Ouarzazate when the competitors reached the finish of the last liaison of the day. For this reason the race has been virtually shared in two blocks for a long morning flushed by this uneasiness. No results for the press, no information and no satellite communications. "This is Africa, this is the Dakar", said Etienne Lavigne, the headmaster of the race.
By the point of view of the pure race, the exploits of the champions are also the highlight of this tremendous challenge. To win is the main goal of the factories involved in the race, and their best riders works for it. However there is one other side of the Dakar, this one played by the men against the desert in a incredible adventure. This has been always one of the main themes of this special cast of adventure mixed with sport. The Dakaris also a long journey, or also the evolution of the ancient explorations in a modern rendering.
Each private rider plays this role in the larger context of the race. For all of them the main target is to reach the last finish line. As in a travel, they wants to bring their bikes into the Rose Lake located near Dakar, and they fight hardly for it. Private riders are often the unknown heroes that come at night, repair their bikes, heat a hasty dinner and thread into the sleeping bag. They are virtually alone against the immense difficulties of the race, but almost all of them are ready to help a momentary friend, giving him a litre of gasoline or a push him in order to start a reluctant engine. That's the particular solidarity of the Dakar.
One of this private riders is Italian Fabrizio Mugnaioli, A 44 aged farm owner in Tuscany, Italy. We met him near the airplane that transports the metal cases, one for eachrider. There the competitors can store everything they want, the only limit is the volume of the boxes. Normally the sleeping bag and spare parts. Fabrizio is competing with an old KTM Rally Replica, a 2001 model that Fabrizio Meoni donate him. Te motorcycle is conserved as the reminder of a friend and a Champion we never be able to forget.